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Online Wellness Community Natural Health and Anti-Aging News
Online Wellness Community Natural Health and Anti-Aging News
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Arteriosclerosis Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors of arteriosclerosis

Causes

No one knows the exact cause of arteriosclerosis, although they do know what causes it to get worse. Many researchers believe it begins with an injury to the innermost layer of the artery, known as the endothelium. These factors are thought to contribute to the damage:

  • High blood pressure
  • Elevated LDL (“bad”) cholesterol
  • An accumulation of homocysteine (an amino acid produced by the human body, thought to be a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, diabetes, and dementia)
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Inflammation

Once the artery is damaged, blood cells called platelets build up there to try and heal the injury. Over time, fats, cholesterol, and other substances also build up at the site, which thickens and hardens the artery wall. The blood flow through the artery is decreased, and the oxygen supply to organs also decreases. Blood clots may form, blocking the artery or entering your bloodstream and cut off blood supply to other organs.

Because some people do not have the classic risk factors of arteriosclerosis (such as cigarette smoking and high blood pressure), it is possible that there may be other causes, such as an infection. Research is ongoing.

Risk Factors

Risk factors for arteriosclerosis include:

  • Being male
  • If female, being past menopause
  • High blood pressure
  • High LDL (“bad) cholesterol or triglycerides (fats in the blood)
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • A family history of heart disease
  • Elevated homocysteine levels
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Diets high in saturated fat and trans fatty acids (trans fats)
  • Depression

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